| Kaye Holland

Is This The World’s Most VIP Island?

The exclusive Amanpulo island resort – where the likes of Robert de Niro and Bill Gates have hung their hats – is the Philippines getaway you need to know about. 

If you’re looking to top up the tan on a bounty advert beach, then the Philippines archipelago is probably already on your radar. The second-largest archipelago in the world, with 7,101 islands, it’s a tropical paradise – and something of a cultural amalgam, having been ruled first by the Spanish for 300 years and then by the US for half a century.

And being on the far side of the South China Sea, it is often overlooked by other travellers, meaning it’s easier to get that ‘off the beaten track’ feeling that’s now nearly impossible to achieve in many South East Asian countries due to the surge in tourism.


The island of Boracay may have recently voted been voted the Best Island in the World 2016 by Conde Nast travel readers – ahead of Bali (Indonesia), Tahiti (French Polynesia) and Santorini (Greece) – but if you want to really relax, restore, recharge your batteries and clear out the brain clutter, then there’s only one Philippines island to head to. And it’s not Boracay.

Make for the private island of Amanpulo – a remote 1.5mile-long haven in the middle of the Philippines which only ever accommodates a maximum of 12 people at a time. As such it’s the kind of place where millionaires and A-listers (Brad Pitt and Beyonce have reportedly both holidayed here) alike head when they want to unplug and unwind in complete privacy and luxury.

Right now, the only way to reach Amanpulo is by private plane (you can bring your own or the hotel can arrange the 70-minute flight for you).


On arrival, the pristine, private beaches and balmy waters provide an instant escape for weary travellers because, let’s face it, few things are more pleasant than the feeling of holiday sun soaking into your bones on a beautiful, barely inhabited beach.

Sybarites could just lounge on the beach for a fortnight – we wouldn’t blame you – but active types can work up a sweat windsurfing, paddle boarding, diving, snorkelling, and kayaking.

Accommodation consists of rooms, or ‘casitas’ as they are affectionally called for around $1,600 per night. For that, you’ll get your own “guest assistant” who has only one goal – to leave you with a smile – plus huge beds, hot tubs, hammocks, decks and outdoor showers. Alternatively, check into a private villa – also available to purchase for approximately US$6.2million – all of which come with private beach access.


Elsewhere, luxurious amenities include an enormous clubhouse, tree-top spa, beach bar and separate lagoon bar, three onsite tennis courts and state of the art gym to work off all that wonderful island food.

When night falls, enjoy locally-caught seafood and island-grown vegetables, served across venues from the Clubhouse Restaurant and Beach Club to private ‘salas’ and beach barbecues – putting thousands of miles between you and your desk.

The only problem is that you may never want to leave for, as leading Australian chef Richard Green, puts it: “Amanpulo is like Fantasy Island on steroids … it’s incredible.” And when you land back on your home turf and turn on your phone to find you have 88 emails, 62 Facebook messages, and 15 texts, chances are you’ll be clamouring for the quiet and peace of Amanpulo

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